Will there be changes soon?

Hello at all,

I just registered on the community board, to get some questions out here.

I’m working for a european company based in germany which is developing a new branch which we already brought to a start-up phase. Because I’m also running a private discussion board with some other people for business exchanges (logistics, security, ERP systems etc.) within europe, I was delegated to set up a secure e-mail system for our new company. One of the board members mentioned runbox in a blog-article about secure e-mail hosts on the discussion board (should’ve waited for the comments to appear two days later…), so I decided to use a few workdays to compare all providers in terms of security, price, features and so on. After a few long nights, I came to the conclusion that runbox should satisfy our demands just perfectly. My idea was also to bring all my e-mail adresses and manage it at the same place (security assumed)

I registered, paid, bought our new domain and integrated it. Simultaneously I updated our co-workers and our central office management, that we’ll reorganize soon and I only need some time to plan everything, to conduct a smooth shift.

Now I’m working the night shift and to be honest… I’m a little devastated… We worked with mail de (not very safe unfortunately) and protonmail (various problems in the past) and were ready for a change, but in this condition of the runbox system I cannot present my plan inside our company with a clear conscience.

I really love the features, but after only a few days, I feel like I saw a very unstable, confusing and counterintuitive system that really disappointed me. Also on our discussion board the comments were mainly “reserved” (to say the least).

To make my topic more reasonable and because I’m sure there are people at runbox, that work very passionate and hard, here’s why I stepped back from my primary decision:

  • Main reason: We work with HIGHLY sensitive data (I can’t stress this out enough) and our data needs to be safe even in case of a big law suit. Like… whistleblower safe. Norwegian privacy laws are very helpful in this case, but we found out (unfortunately too late), that data isn’t encrypted on the runbox servers and employees of runbox could read e-mails !theoretically!. But even theoretically, that’s a very big no-go. There seems to be no option to activate such a function.

  • Right on the first day, I wanted to register for the support system and it showed something like “We send you a verification e-mail, please confirm”. That e-mail never came. Tried it three times. Nothing.

  • There is runbox 7… (since a few years?!?) it looks great (nice and appealing decent interface), but why is there even a second version for a few years? Never witnessed something like this at a serious company.

  • Runbox 7 always deletes our adjustments after a log out. For example: We tried to adjust the preview window for e-mails so that it immediately shows full screen window. We deactive “Show populare recipients” on the daily. We set “Show HTML” and “Images for” “All senders”… on the daily, because for the next months we only wanted to use runbox for our interns. It feels like the storage for the preferences is safed within the browser (?!?). Our business browsers are not allowed to store any kind of data.

  • There’s no .apk if I’m right. That’s a problem. The “app” looks great too (didn’t test its functions yet), but because it’s working only within a browser, we are not allowed to use it on our work phones. We would have requested a permission to change our system to use an app solely from runbox, to use the whole runbox system, but with a browser that would be a breach of agreement.

  • If I click on “Compose” and go to inbox, the empty (!) e-mail is saved to Drafts. Why is everything saved to draft, without asking the user beforehand? If it’s because of avoiding pop-ups… OK. That’s a good reason, but there are other solutions for that. When I “click” on “Compose” the next day, I always have at least two e-mail underneath the new mail. The Drafts folder in total is VERY “special”.

  • Every second day there are glitches and lags while changing between the folders.

  • When I use hyphens infront of some sentences with activated HTML, it automatically creates a bullet list. Even after marking everything and deactivating this function, it reactivates automatically after a line break.

  • And there’s more for runbox 7. I tested runbox 6 too,… but this message is long enough. Every time I’m logging in now, I fear to determine another problem that makes it uncomfortable to work with runbox.

  • Also there is another board on the runbox site… emaildiscussions (something like that) with very few topics and some from 2006 (?)…

I’ve never seen something like this… Why is runbox not establishing a totally normal GUI and focusses on the features and the security (their most interesting USP) add a VPN and some more features. That would be great, but I don’t get why everything is so chaotic (with an open beta running for years now)…

Edit: Also I never saw a “secure mail provider” with a community… (ironic that this seems to be the best way to may have a fully working system over the next years…)

Edit 2: I don’t even see a way to log out of this community…

There are very many positive things about runbox too, but due to these circumstances, it’s sadly not bearable, never mind usable…

I truly and deeply hope there will be a time where runbox is doing great. For now,… we’re just puzzled…


Hello @V-H and thank you for taking the time to comment here in the Runbox discussion forum.

We very much appreciate being considered and initially selected as the email hosting provider for your company, as there are quite a few contenders in our market and we know that it can be time-consuming and resource demanding to perform an assessment and a migration. Therefore we are first and foremost grateful for all the positive feedback you expressed, and we regret that you ended up having to reverse your decision.

As you know Runbox is a Norwegian company and our offices and email services are located withiin Norwegian jurisdiction which provides strong privacy regulations compatible with the EU’s GDPR. Being located in Norway also entails abundant access to renewable energy sources (hydropower) and a particular vantage point to the global environmental challenges we are facing. Although privacy and security remain top priorities for our company, environmental concerns have become gradually stronger and increasingly influence our strategy and direction.

Through the implementation of the GDPR and the Norwegian Personal Data Act we have made thorough assessments of necessary security measures, and whole-disk encryption of data at rest along with TLS/SSL encrypted traffic and browser plugin PGP encryption support have been the first steps towards a fully encrypted Runbox email service. Additionally our policies prohibit us from disclosing any personally identifiable information without a Norwegian court order, which means that although our trusted customer support management have technical access to user data for customer support purposes our Privacy Policy prevents us from disclosing any such data.

Runbox 7 constitutes an ambitious development project for a small company, and although we are proud of what has been accomplished thus far we are working to improve the rate of development and its current state. Runbox has always prioritized creativity and not accepting the status quo of existing solutions, and we therefore set our goals high and aim at reinvention wherever the opportunity arises. We have for a few months directed our development resources towards improving the quality of Runbox 7 and have resolved many of the issues that have been raised previously, although there are still several left including those mentioned in your comments (of which some are recent regressions that we expect to be corrected very soon).

The reason for establishing and maintaining this community discussion forum is that we value transparency and open communication with our users. This perspective goes back to the other discussion forum you mentioned, where both Runbox and some of our competitors were officially represented in the past, and is continued through our open source Runbox 7 project on Github.

You may log out of this forum (Discourse) at any time by clicking the profile avatar in the top right corner, then on the small profile icon in the menu that appears, and then “Log out”.

Regarding the lack of email confirmation messages from our support system we will look into this provided we can identify the details you may have used there.

Again, we thank you for sharing your impressions with us and assure you that we are employing all available resources towards resolving the issues raised.

– Geir

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Dear Geir,

that was an outstanding response. I really appreciate the effort.

The personal/familiar character of runbox is probably a very nice addition to this email host for many people using runbox for their private accounts.

I would really love to have a frictionless working interface and an app like the ones on mail.de, with all the unique features of runbox (maybe plus a VPN in the short- or long-term future).

I made use of the “2 years for one”-offer, opened an account and I will keep it for now. If runbox 7 is working smooth and without any lags soon, I might implement one or more of my personal accounts. And if runbox 7 is finally stable and intuitive enough I will re-consider to suggest a change once more to my colleagues and our employees.

Kind regards.


Hi gents,

It was quite an interesting reading going through both your points. I felt somewhat compelled to get involved in the discussion as I’ve been using Runbox for a couple of years now and, like you Geir, I’ve also bumped into some of the issues and inconsistencies of Runbox 7, as well as occasional system (login) interruptions as far as using Runbox as my daily email on Android. While overall I’m pleased with the service, admittedly, I was also debating whether I should be extending my subscription or look somewhere else.
My main concerns are:

  • Slow and inconsistent transition to Runbox 7 and yes, creating confusion through maintaining both versions for such a long time.
  • The calendar web app within Runbox 7 was never reliable for me. The “overview” view has been the only tab which actually shows events (also not very well) - regardless of browser or device. All other views simply refuse to get populated.
  • Although the overall email service has great potential and numerous excellent features, the development certainly appears to be stalling at times and implementation priorities don’t convey clear directions or strategies.

On the positive side, using both, the email and a CalDAV synced calendar on Android and Mozilla Thunderbird was almost a flawless experience - again, only tainted by short, yet repeated service interruptions - a forgiving annoyance, more then a serious inconvenience.

In conclusion, just like Geir, I am trying to read between the lines and figure out whether I should stay with Runbox or look somewhere else. As far as I’m concerned, inconsistency and development stagnation are Runbox’ only flaws however, if these flaws eventually become the company’s “nameplate”, I’d rather find another provider.

I recently bumped into an article discussing a new partnership between one of Runbox’ competitors and a reputable password manager which combines privacy features of both partners towards offering email masking to their users and I couldn’t help but notice, once again, the lack thereof of such initiatives within Runbox. While I did try the email service, I wasn’t impressed at all with their, so called, privacy, but I loved their user interface and its functionality. So, I would love to stay with Runbox but I need a little convincing through concrete actions.



VH, thanks for joining the community forum and sharing your thoughts :wave::grin:

For an email app you or your company can use with Runbox that also does POP3 and IMAP I suggest trying FairEmail. This app will work great if your company has an individual email account for each user that they sign into. Unfortunately, the FairEmail app will not show any Runbox aliases associated with the Runbox username used for signing in.

Because I can’t access my numerous Runbox aliases with the FairEmail app, I mostly use the Runbox 7 site on my laptop and occasionally the Runbox browser app through the Brave browser on my Android phone. I’m an individual user paying for my own subscription so it is easier for me to make do without a stand alone email app then it is for a company.

FairEmail is a long standing popular third-party email app. Doing a web search for FairEmail will return many results for blogs, forums and other websites with info about FairEmail. Here’s the FairEmail website https://email.faircode.eu/ with the F-droid, Github and Play images linked to their respective sites for more info and downloading.

I too would like to see Runbox make steady continued improvements and upgrades. instead being of stagnant for an untold number of years like you mentioned. Giving feedback about Runbox from the perspective of your company is great and hopefully will motivate Runbox to increase their speed of development.

It is my guess that Runbox growth and improvement is slow because they don’t sell ads on their site or user data and are not concerned about growth and competing with popular email providers like Gmail, ProtonMail, Tutanota, Yahoo etc.

Reading review articles about Runbox, I read a comment that said something like, while Runbox is lacking in some area’s and not well refined like many providers, Runbox has been reliable showing up everyday doing what’s needed to be an email provider for the last couple decades.

Being reliable counts for something when taking into consideration other popular email providers that have folded or merged with larger providers. Some examples from my web research include BulletEmail.com most of the website doesn’t work. Ctemplar.com & OpenMailbox.org shutdown. NetCourrier.com redirects to Mailo.com in France. Tuffmail.com redirects to Fastmail in Australia.

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@V-H Runbox is easier to use with the FairEmail app. The FairEmail app is how I use Runbox 99% of the time now. I rarely sign-in to the website anymore & quit using the android browser shortcut app. :grin:

1 Add the same Runbox username & password to every FairEmail app so they sign into the same Runbox account. (Settings > Main > Manual setup and account options > Accounts enter Runbox Username & password, Identities enter the aliases.)

2 Add Runbox aliases as an Identity to each app for the person that needs the alias. For example 3 people need access to the same alias, add that alias to the app on their devices only.

3 Sending email: At the top of the email typing window the default email address, or only email address, will be displayed. If more addresses were added, tapping that email address will show a scrollable drop down menu of all addresses added to the app. Tap to select another address & use it for sending email.

A small group of employees should use the app for at least 1-2 weeks to evaluate if it is suitable for the company. The app has a lot of settings. It might work better to have one person setup the FairEmail app on all the devices. Start/end the app tutorial with, “Everyone please do not change any app settings so your app doesn’t malfunction.”

If everyone at the company is knowledgeable about this technology, everyone could download the app to their devices. Then someone could lead a group step by step how to setup the app by entering the Runbox username, password & their aliases. So everyone gets the same info to setup their app, could use a Power point presentation, write it on a chalk/white board or verbal.

One important thing people will want to know is if they can change the email notification tone or turn it off. The company will have to decide if they want everyone to use the same tone or show everyone how to change the notification tone.

If you have questions or need help FairEmail creator Marcel is helpful, a pleasure to communicate with & often replies to emails quickly. If the company chooses to use FairEmail, I’m sure he’d be delighted to know that. He quickly answered my questions about using FairEmail with my many Runbox aliases & gave me the steps above. He also said Runbox is a good email provider.

Interesting conversation. I tried to skim it thoroughly (is that a thing?) :grin:, and would like to add some points.

Security is always determined by the weakest point in the setup. Because email is based on decades-old protocols, data protection is layered on top.

It would require strict regulations at every level to keep data safe. @Geir outlined the measures that Runbox has taken, and users must ensure those measures are enforced right through to their devices.

Runbox 7 is a web-based email client. It’s just one option for accessing Runbox-hosted email. You can choose from countless clients that speak IMAP (or the older, less secure POP3).

Should you choose to use another client, your security protocols must extend right through to each device.

We chose Runbox as our host, but another person in our organization is in love with Google and set up several people with the Gmail app (configured with Runbox IMAP settings). They experienced horrible send/receive times, and blamed Runbox, when the real culprit was the Gmail app (but hey, Google can do no harm, right?) :roll_eyes:

You are not required to use the Runbox 7 web client. Should you choose other clients, make sure the users are using full-disk encryption and strong password protection on their devices.

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Thanks for the detailed and carefully considered feedback here. As we are wrapping up a year consisting mainly of quality improvements to existing functionality we are looking ahead to a new year focusing more on expansive development including upgrading the rest of Runbox 6 to Runbox 7.

You will find more details on our progress via this blog post which outlines the recent improvements made, as well as the Runbox 7 Roadmap here in the forum.

– Geir